First Name Cruz is a product of my personal development journey, life experiences, and the many struggles that I have been able to overcome because of personal development.

Yes, my first name is Cruz and yes, I am sure.  Those are two questions I get more often than I would like to admit.

A little about me

My name is Cruz R. Villanueva.

First and foremost, I am a Husband and a Father.

Most of my adult life has been dedicated to the military as an Air Force Noncommissioned Officer.

I’m also a health & fitness aficionado, avid reader, blogger, up and coming writer, personal development madman, and a straight baller!

Ok, ok, so I’m not a baller, but that would be an awesome title wouldn’t it? However, there was once a time when I was a standout athlete in football and basketball.

My start came from humble beginnings.  Born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas, the Sun City holds a special place in my heart.

It too taught me many lessons.

Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but we had enough.  My parents worked their tails off in order to provide for me, my brothers and my sisters.

095_016Eventually going off on my own after high school, I in a fulfilling military career in which I am proud and honored to serve in.

Much of who I am today I owe to the military.  I’m not sure where I would be today had I never stepped into my recruiter’s office.

Seven years into my career, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  In 2012, I was selected as a Military Training Instructor entrusted to transform brand new civilian recruits into our military’s finest.

To date, my time as Military Training Instructor has been the toughest and most exhausting work I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding.  It was there that I learned how to truly be a leader.

During my four years there, I experienced the most personal growth than I have ever experienced in my life.

Personal development beginnings

It was during my time as a Military Training Instructor that I embraced the gift of personal development.

My personal development journey began in 2014 when I got my hands on How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  It changed everything for me.

Unknowingly, in the past I had done many things for personal development, but it was only after reading Dale Carnegie’s book that it became a focus.

Personal development opened my eyes to a world I thought was only reachable for a select few.

Now, the books I have read have piled up, uncomfortable situations that force me to grow have become intentional, and the quality of my personal life has drastically improved in ways I could have never imagined.

Ever since my passion for personal development has only grown and I’ve been doing it like a boss ever since.

Fitness for personal development

Ever since I was young, fitness has been a part of my life.  My family can tell you that I just loved to be active.

However, fitness became intentional early on in when I first football.

My love for football was crazy.  It still is.  Early on I recognized that if I wanted to be a competitive football player, weight training was required.  So, I started hitting the gym at 14 years old.

The clanging of steel plates and fogged up mirrors had me instantly hooked.

I had found a new love.  Getting stronger became addictive and an everlasting part of my life.

Eventually, all that weight training for football led me to CrossFit, functional fitness, and health & fitness overall.  It also pushed me to pursue other fitness challenges like running a marathon and a half-triathlon.

My mission

My mission here at First Name Cruz is simple.

It is to ignite a blazing fire within you for personal development. 

It has done so much for me since I immersed myself in the world of personal development and it is my duty to share it with many people as possible.

Everything written in my blog comes from my time of diving deep into personal development and the many lessons learned from my personal experience.

Within each post are lessons from my parents, coaches, mentors, and many of the military leaders I have had the privilege to learn from.

They all have something to offer that can potentially change your life as they did mine.

My goal is to do for you what has been done for me through personal development.

—Cruz R. Villanueva




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